Nature, much like the art of an angry monkey or a life-sized gelatinous recreation of Buckingham Palace, seems even more impressive after several hours of human observation. Keep nature under the microscope with today's Groupon from Barrier Island Eco Tours located on the Isle of Palm. Choose between two options:
- For $18, you get a Capers Island Wildlife Exploration tour (up to a $36 value).
- For $15, you get a Dolphin Discovery Sunset tour (up to a $30 value).
Staffed by passionate naturalists, Barrier Island Eco Tours guides curious wildlife-wanderers around Capers Island State Heritage Preserve, an undeveloped barrier island off the Carolina coast. Tours ferry through the sinuous and shallow salt-marsh estuaries amidst multifarious plant and animal life. Both tour options land on three miles of Capers Island's “Bone-Yard Beach,” letting patrons find their feet on solid ground and frolic forth to further photograph and explore to their hearts' content.
With the Capers Island Wildlife Exploration, cruisers travel between barrier islands as guides expound upon the lush range of lunged and hard-shelled life flourishing in their scenic habitats. Ospreys and egrets soar over skulls while shorebirds peck for sustenance in the sand. Passengers can opt to have guides coax blue crabs and oysters on to the boat for a closer look and a few autographs. The tour runs from 9 a.m.–12:30 p.m. every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday year-round, and after May 30 guides conduct the tour at the same time on Fridays as well.
With the Dolphin Discovery Sunset tour, aqua adventurers set out into the marshes in search of playful bottlenose dolphins. Tourists commune with their inner cetacean while watching dolphins mosey about the inlets and marshes, accompanied by naturalist narration about the dolphins' habits, behaviors, and best-selling album Dolphins Sing the Works of David Bowie. This cruise also visits the habitat of the threatened loggerhead sea turtle; during the summer, the water may treat explorers to a sight of a turtle as it moves about its aquatic business. Guides run this tour each Sunday, Wednesday, and Friday year-round at times determined by that day's sunset, and after May 30 tours take place Sunday–Friday from 6 p.m.–8:30 p.m.
Barrier Island Eco Tours
Repeating a tradition that went back to their high-school days, three college friends sat on a Capers Island beach, roasting oysters over a cedar fire. They looked out at all the undeveloped land of the barrier islands and the low country, feeling like the sole witnesses to the beauty of pristine nature—and recognized that was a problem. Understanding that both tourists and locals were overlooking these untouched salt marshes and tidal pools, they decided to launch Barrier Island Eco Tours to help instill a greater respect and appreciation in the greater population. After receiving permission from the Department of Natural Resources, and with just a six-passenger boat, they began taking guests out on eco tours, fishing trips, and beach cookouts.
Today, Barrier Island’s naturalists have a fleet of boats for their six eco-friendly adventures such as sunset cruises to see bottlenose dolphins, a wildlife tours of Capers Island, and guided fishing trips for trophies such as redfish, shark, and stealth submarines. They also organize group and special events, from weddings to school fieldtrips.